THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 09 FEBRUARY 2019 (Shadow boxing in Kolkata (The Indian Express)

Shadow boxing in Kolkata (The Indian Express)

Mains Paper 5: Polity
Prelims level: Chit fund Scam
Mains level: Jurisdiction of CBI

Context

  •  The confrontation between the Central government and the government of West Bengal over the investigation of Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund ponzi scam has thrown up a number of critical issues.
  •  Some of them are obvious and some require deeper examination.

Background

  •  It was a face-off between the CBI and the West Bengal Police the crisis being precipitated by the CBI’s raid of the official residence of Rajeev Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, on February 3.
  •  Apparently, it was to question him on the scam because he had refused three summons sent earlier by the CBI.
  •  On the face of it, the action appeared unexceptionable. However, there are several unanswered questions in this context.

The CBI move

  •  If such a strong action had to be taken, why could it not wait until the regular director of the CBI, Rishi Kumar Shukla, whose appointment had already been announced, took charge?
  •  An investigation which had dragged on for more than four years could have been delayed by a couple of days. It was indiscreet on the part of Nageshwar Rao, the interim director, to have shown the urgency he did.
  •  Prior to the raid, the press was told that the police commissioner was absconding and that his arrest was imminent.
  •  This was strongly refuted by the West Bengal Police, which clarified that he was in Kolkata attending to his official duties, and he had taken leave for just a day.
  •  If that is true, why was such a canard spread?
  •  It is true that the police has the power to arrest an accused, and search a premises without warrant under Sections 41 and 165 of the CrPC.
  •  However, these powers are to be exercised with great circumspection. In the present case, the CBI would appear to have overstretched action under Section 165 of the CrPC.
  •  No wonder the Supreme Court, while asking the police commissioner to “faithfully cooperate” with the investigating agency, has, at the same time, restrained the CBI from arresting him.

Analyzing the facts

  •  The fact of the matter is that the police across the country is, today, generally acting as agents of the ruling class, and not as upholders of the rule of law.
  •  The central police organisations are not immune to politicisation, though they are comparatively better off.
  •  In the Kolkata confrontation, policemen on both sides were the pawns. What happened was a kind of shadow boxing.
  •  The real fight was between the Centre and the state government, one pushing its agenda through the CBI, and the other resisting it with the state police.
  •  Such misuse of police can be prevented if it is insulated from extraneous pressures, but then, who wants to give up his zamindari over the police?
  •  The SC issued directions as far back as 2006, but the executive of the country has a remarkable genius for frustrating judicial directions.

Conclusion

  •  The Government of India should also seriously think of bringing “police” and “public order” in the Concurrent List.
  •  There has been a radical change in the law and order scenario since the Constitution was drafted.
  •  The states are not able to discharge even their normal functions, let alone deal with crimes which have inter-state ramifications, without central assistance.
  •  Bringing “police” and “public order” in the Concurrent List would only amount to giving de jure recognition to what obtains de facto on the ground.

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General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Which of the following countries are landlocked?
1. Zimbabwe
2. Malawi
3. Botswana

Select the correct answer from the codes given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: D

Mains Questions:
Q.1) Such misuse of police can be prevented if it is insulated from extraneous pressures, but then, who wants to give up his zamindari over the police?
 

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